Anthony Horowitzis the best-selling author of the Alex Rider series and the award-winning writer of PBS's Foyle's War, Collision, Injustice as well as many other film and television projects.
If you were to ask what has made Sherlock Holmes the most successful and best loved detective of all time, I would argue that it is not in fact the crimes or the mysteries. It seems to me that the appeal of the books has much more to do with character, the friendship of Holmes and Watson, the extraordinary and very rich world they inhabit and the genuine and often under-rated excellence of Conan Doyle’s writing, a touch melodramatic at times but still very much in the tradition of gothic romance. When I was asked to write The House of Silk, I realised that this would be the key. I had to become invisible. I had to find that extraordinary, authentic voice.
The very nature of a Sherlock Holmes story is that the narrative has a slightly silky feel. The chapters are short and to the point. Characters are not described at any great length and even Victorian London is economically sketched in. Nor are there any major action sequences as such. A boat chase down the River Thames, yes. A midnight encounter with a hell hound on the moors. But these are singular occurrences. The greater part of the novels take place in closed rooms…hardly ideal for a modern audience and certainly of no interest to any circling Hollywood producers (well, it’s just a thought).
Writing the book was also an intense pleasure and I hope I won’t sound arrogant when I say that I think it is my best work. I am not superstitious by nature but Doyle, of course, was a confirmed spiritualist and before I began writing The House of Silk, I went out and bought an old Holmes edition which he had personally signed. It was with me the whole time and that tiny, neat signature became something of a talisman for me. I even felt occasionally (or was tempted to feel) that Doyle was in some way watching over me, guiding my hand. This may sound completely ridiculous but it’s just how it was.